Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Road to Chimayo

Thursday July 2, 2015

The "high road to Taos" is a path through the

mountains. The main highway is 68. It follows the river
through the canyon. But, if you want to see the more rural mountain
communities, take the "high road to Taos"

Okay. We were already in Taos.
Ranchos de Taos to be precise.
So, our day trip started with the drive through Talpa
shown on the top of the map.
We drove through Penasco, stopped at Trampas and Truchas,
and proceeded to Chimayo. We returned home through Espanola
and Velarde and the 68 north back into Ranchos de Taos.

Our first stop was a scenic rest stop.
We enjoyed the valley and the trees across the mountains!

Voir was thrilled to find some yellow flowers
that were just her size, and the color of her shirt!

Amaya wanted her photo taken in the mountains, too.

After Penasco, some of the terrain turns into farms
and fields with horses.

We stopped at Las Trampas,
which is an old mission church.

San Jose de Gracia was built in 1760.
There were 12 Spanish families who settled the area in 1751.
When they originally settled here, it was a forest of spruce and pine.
Their village was laid out in an adobe plaza with a defensive wall
meant to defend against attackers. By 1776, 63 families lived in the village.

The church was built by the villagers in the Spanish style.
The original plaza plan is still evident in buildings surrounding the church,
although the residences are most likely from the 1850's or later.
The church retains most of its 18th century features.
It has continued to be preserved and maintained.

The older, eroding features and exposed adobe brick on the church were evident,
but the surrounding scaffolding indicated that it is undergoing its
annual preservation and re-mudding.

Fortunately, there are many photos of the church found online!

Artist Lorene Caywood
The next leg of our journey continued through
the mountains to the village of Truchas.

Truchas is built along the top edge of a valley.
It has its own mission church built in 1764.
It is Nuestra Senora del Rosario (Holy Rosary).
My mom and I have never been here. It is on the main road through
Truchas, but it is also surrounded by buildings and not visibly accessible.

The building below used to be a church.
In fact, I thought this was the church in Truchas.
I have been in this building.
It is across the road from the building below
and is now an art gallery.
My mom made the good point that they would not
have turned a historic mission church into an art gallery.

So, my mom the artist and the driver of the car
pulled into the driveway of this art studio.

This is the Hand Artes Gallery.
Being more interested in doll photography than art,
I mostly waited outside.

What an incredible view!

This is the former church that is across the road.

The drive between Truchas and Chimayo
turns into something that looks like rolling mesas
with desert bushes more than a forest.

Our first stop in Chimayo was at Ortega's Weaving Shop.
They are on their 9th generation of weaving in Chimayo,
which now has a strong community of weavers.

I have a table runner on the back of my sofa and several
smaller woven pieces from Chimayo. I believe that they are the
highest quality when it comes to historic New Mexican Hispanic style
woven rugs and products. They also have jackets, pillows, bags, etc.

But, our larger reason for our road trip was to visit
the Sanctuario de Chimayo.

In the early 19th century, 19 families lived in this area.
Bernardo Abeyta built a chapel around 1810. In 1813, he
wrote to Father Alvarez for permission to build a larger church.
By 1816, the original chapel had been replaced by this church.

Abeyta's daughter inherited the property, and later
passed it down to her daughter.
In 1929, the owners were in financial trouble.
The Spanish Colonial Arts Society bought the property and donated
it to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. It was declared
a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

The other side of the story of Chimayo is one of religious
faith and miracles. It is known as the "Lourdes of  America".
Each year during Good Friday and Easter,
hundreds of pilgrims walk many miles on the highways
and back roads to give thanks and pray for miracles.

A side room attached the main sanctuary contains
a pit of dirt believed to have healing qualities.
The inner walls in this room and around the church property
have tokens of faith and prayers left, and stories of healing
and items like crutches to represent those healed.

Whatever people believe, it is a quiet place of reverence.

With this destination in our journey complete,
it was time to head home.

We took the 68 through Espanola and 
Ohkay Owingeh (formerly known as San Juan Pueblo).
This is the first area that Juan de Onate established as a colony
in New Mexico in July 1598.
It was the beginning of Spanish settlement and the 
ensuing conflicts between the Spaniards and the Pueblo people in this region.

We drove through the village of Velarde

along the canyon route of the Rio Grande.

We arrived home in time to watch the rain over the mountains
approaching us for another summer rain storm.

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